Monday, April 13, 2015

Giveaway! Piano Boot Camp: Special Ops!

Summer lessons are always a challenge.  We know that summer is an ideal time to boost our students' piano skills when they are not also encumbered with the stress of the school year. But, it becomes so easy for students to have 3-4 lessons, practice only little, and end up having only just avoided losing ground, not really moving forward.

In the past, I've held summer piano camps which were mostly entertainment. We played games which taught a little theory - a very little. We learned a little music - a very little. Last summer, with a studio that was growing out of the elementary years into middle school eye-rolling experts, I decided to do something different. I decided to challenge them.  The result was...


Piano Boot Camp:  Special Ops



Piano Boot Camp:  Special Ops is designed to be a challenging and motivating experience for your 10-15-year-old students. It is an ideal curriculum for a summer camp, but you can adapt the ideas and activities to use any way you like. Special Ops will improve your students’ reading skills, their practicing strategies, their technique, their fluency, their musicianship, and their attitude towards hard work. Hopefully, each student will discover that he or she can accomplish more than he imagined in a short amount of time, and this will spur him on to greater progress in the months and years to come! My boot camp classes met for an hour and a half each day for 5 days, but you can choose how long to make your own classes. Because you have more time with students, you can really dig into technique and artistry issues in depth.  The curriculum contains links to several youtube videos which your students will find inspiring and instructive, as well as many fun activities that are appropriate for your eye-rolling, hard-to-please tweens and young teens!

Special Ops lesson plans include sessions for technique, sight reading, and learning literature along with score study, learning to plan a practice session, setting and evaluating progress toward a goal, and journaling through the practice progress. (The student guide contains a daily journal with questions to guide their thinking.) The classes include a "mental strength" component that addresses procrastination, delayed gratification, persistence, and self-efficacy. There are also fun activities that boost artistry:  for instance, a dramatic monologue that contains musical dynamic signs to help shape verbal inflection.

The “secret mission” of this camp is metacognition. (Great word for impressing parents – wink!) Metacognition is awareness of one's own learning or thinking processes. My goal in Special Ops is to help students learn to plan their goals for practicing and to think about what might be preventing or helping them to achieve their goals whether it is a mental roadblock, procrastination, or a technique problem. Students at the tween+ age are ready to think about their own thinking, and this camp could be a turning point for some of your more reluctant students! By focusing on metacognition, you help them take command of their own learning. 

Student level

Special Ops is appropriate for approximately ages 10-15. Students should be in at least a level 2A method book such as Faber or Alfred Premier, and should know their lines and spaces and basic theory up to that point. You can customize the levels of the literature and exercises to fit your students. Some of my students were in Alfred 2A, while others were playing sonatinas and simple Chopin. You choose the literature.

Setup and Scheduling

The class sessions are designed to work with only one piano and 2-3 students - because I don't have a piano lab or a big space, and I know many of you don't, either! The classes work very well as partner lessons. Grouping students together makes the class more fun and generates more excitement about achieving and doing one’s best.  Students may also do the boot camp one-on-one with the instructor. If you have the equipment and space to accommodate a larger group, that works too! Adapt the material as you need to make it work. 

Special Ops was designed with the intent to meet every day for five consecutive days; however, you are free to schedule students as you need. The most important thing is to keep the momentum high by not letting an entire week pass between meetings.  

Student Commitment 

Boot Camp participants are expected to practice at home between each class session, and to sign a commitment form in the student workbook promising to do so. (A.K.A. commissioning form) There is also a place for the parent to sign. I was surprised to discover that my students were very receptive to the idea of an intense challenge over a short burst of time. When I raised the bar, they stepped up! Boot Camp is meant to be challenging, so don’t underestimate your students! At the end of each day of camp, students receive “sealed orders” for their homework. The homework includes practicing, studying scores, and reflecting in a journal about their work.

How Can I Get It?

Piano Boot Camp:  Special Ops will be available in my Etsy store on Saturday, April 18! It includes a 20+ page teacher's guide and a student booklet that can be reproduced for all of your students. Stay tuned as I'll be posting a teaser every day until then!

Giveaway

Of course, there has to be a giveaway! I'll be giving away a free copy of the Piano Boot Camp: Special Ops teacher guide and student book on Saturday, April 18 at noon (ET).  To enter, please leave a comment below. For extra entries, please share a link to this post on any social media site - your blog, your facebook page, your pinterest page, your twitter page, etc. - and leave a comment telling me that you did so. Every share is an entry! I'll use a random number generator to determine the winner on Saturday! Good luck!  UPDATE:  Giveaway is now closed.




20 comments:

Loraine Ho said...

I would like to enter the give away and possible to start a piano camp sometime next summer with the Boot Camp material.

Seokhian said...

I have just picked up a group of pupils in the age range from a teacher who is emigrating... I think the Boot Camp material would be absolutely fantastic resource for me to start working with them in this summer term.

lsupernaw said...

This sounds great! I have several students who would really get into this theme!

Hone said...

What a great way to add some oomph in summer lessons. Love this!

Nita Broadwell said...

This is exciting! Thanks for sharing! I want to see this curriculum in my hands!!!

Lance Sondrol said...

This sounds creative and fun...., both aspects I love to inject into my teaching! Would love to win!

Saundra said...

I would love to have this curriculum for a summer camp. It looks to be very well thought out and organized. Thanks for the offer.

Rhonda Hambright said...

Hey Laura! So good to see you the other week! Please enter me - we may do this at SSPC Summer Camp offerings. Thanks, Rhonda Hambright

Elizabeth Green said...

Would love to use this camp in my studio!

Cherisse Miller said...

Sounds like a fun idea I would like to do with my students this summer.

Tasha said...

I've recently discovered "camps" and love it for my young studio, but have been thinking about what to do as the average age and level of my students increases. Perfect timing, can't wait to see the finished product!

Heidi said...

I love how this is geared for smaller groups. Summer is the perfect time to extend their learning since they don't have to compete with time for schoolwork.

Jennifer Foxx said...

Looks like a great camp Laura! Nothing like raising the bar! :) Glad to hear it was successful for you!

Kathy said...

I would love to do this camp with my students this summer! I am moving in early July, after putting on our state MTA conference, and I already know I will have no extra brain cells left to teach regular summer lessons. This sounds like the Eureka! answer. Choose me!

heather jane said...

Sounds perfect. So many camps are designed for younger students and really not beneficial to this age group, which, as you mentioned, is tough to reach!

Amy Sadler said...

I have never done a summer piano camp, and I would love to give it a try. The material looks fun and engaging!

Susan said...

So exciting! I'm looking into several summer camp options right now and this sounds super cool!

Allison Merrill said...

I would love to have this! :) It sounds amazing!

Unknown said...

Sounds like fun! Thanks for doing this giveaway!

Jill Fontenot said...

I am planning my first camp this summer and would love to have these resources. I teach many educators kids/teens and appreciate all the work you have done and I know they will too. The more I communicate with them about "the method behind the madness" the more support I get from my parents.
Thank you!
Jill